AW16 at Marks and Spencer!

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For those of you who follow me on Instagram you’ll know that I am a fan of good old M&S.  They have been through the mill a bit in recent years with falling sales figures and profits, changing CEOs and criticisms of their women’s wear.  I, for one, think that they have a lot to offer.

And it’s not just restricted, for me, to one range within the store.  I have to say that I’m not quite onto their ‘Classic’ range yet and that whilst I’ve dabbled occasionally in Per Una I often find it a bit ‘frou frou’ for me, but I love Autograph and I also regularly find pieces I love in Limited Edition, Indigo and M&S Collection.

This year, seems to me to be their strongest for a while.  Wandering through the Leeds store recently and browsing the website they’ve got some cracking items in women’s clothing.  So much so that I’ve already spent a small fortune on a fair few things with a big ‘lust’ list for other things I really want to get!

The things I’ve already bought!

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I love this fisherman’s tank top so much.  I’ve bought this navy colourway and also the khaki version.  I’m also thinking of wearing with a shirt underneath and with either trousers, skirt or jeans meaning it can be worn both for semi-formal work meetings and also casually. I really love this look.

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I also went for their Victoriana look blouse.  This is available in petrol (which I went for) and ivory.  I’m thinking black skinny jeans and a pair of black suede ankle boots to go with it!

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Next came these babies.  I love trainers at the best of times and was tempted to go for the leopard print ones they also have at the moment, but I’ve already got leopard print ones and it would be quite ridiculous to own two pairs – wouldn’t it?!  So I opted for these white leather Autograph trainers which will go with so many things!  Skirts, dresses, jeans, cigarette style trousers, dungarees!  The world is my wardrobe option!

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Next up these Stain Away wide fit red suede pumps.  I just couldn’t really carry off the ‘ghillie’ trend in footwear last year, but these are a great alternative for me and flat so easy to walk in!  Gorgeous colour which will lift lots of outfits to add a ‘pop’ of colour!  I can’t wait to wear them!

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Finally, there was this gorgeous camel coloured crombie coat from the Limited Edition range.  I have grown to truly love this range and, whilst I think it’s aimed, from a marketing perspective, at a younger age group I know it really appeals across the age spectrum with women into their 60s who love their fashion embracing some of these designs.  The colour in the picture is darker than the reality.  It really is a camel coloured coat rather than a brown coat.  It’s great and I will probably wear it in lots of different ways, but also with my jeans, white trainers and breton tops.

The things I am lusting over and on my wish list!

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Oh my God! This is such a really gorgeous skirt that I hesitated in sharing it with you in case you all go out and buy it and get there before me.  It is sooooooo beautiful and even better on than it looks in the photo.  Again, this is another Limited Edition number and I did try this one on and, even with totally inappropriate other items of clothing and no shoes on, it made me feel and look great.  How do some clothes do that?!

And, just to prove that I did try it on…..

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It’s also got side pockets, which is another reason why it’s a winner.  As if we needed any more reasons! In fact, I’ve checked online and they’re now out of stock and I’m trying desperately to get hold of one from my local store…… Aaaaaaaargh!!! Let’s hope they get more stock in.

Moving swiftly on….

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Continuing the love of Victoriana I’m also after this lovely blouse.  The advantage here is that the high neck is elasticated so I’m not going to feel strangled in it.

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Following on from my summer purchases of pleated midi skirts I’m pleased to see a glam winter version in black velvet.  This is lovely and just the ticket for low-key evenings out or even ramped up for full on glam evenings.

And the things that were considered but weren’t quite me…..

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I really wanted to love this Limited Edition dress but it just didn’t love me back.  It looks great on the model but I think a combination of boobs and shortness of stature didn’t do me any favours here.  By all means, if you’re tall, skinny and less amply endowed this will undoubtedly look fantastic on you, but it wasn’t for me – as you’ll see below.

 

And unfortunately the boobs got in the way with the next one….

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Great red, ruffled jumper from Limited Edition, but unfortunately you’ll see what it looked like on me….

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All boob I’m afraid but, undeterred, I went for a similar jumper in black from M&S Collection. See below…

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Black didn’t highlight my ‘assets’ quite as much as the red!

 

These ‘granny’ loafer shoes in gold are tagging onto the Gucci trend that I’ve seen on so many great bloggers on Instragram in recent months.  They’re lovely and practical, but I’m not 100% sure that they’re me ….. but I’ve not forgotten about them completely and may go back for another try on……

So there you have it.  There’ll be more no doubt to come that I will fall in love with but this is my initial trawl through M&S AW16 ranges….. I’d love to hear what you’re loving in M&S at the moment!

Marguerite x

p.s. update on Limited Edition skirt.  It has now sold out online but I’ve managed to get one in-store thankfully.  It’s great that people are getting out there and liking what M&S have got to offer!  I’m looking forward to wearing my skirt in the months and hopefully years to come!

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Pretty and Practical – the cross-body bag

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Many of my Instagram friends will know that I love following the #mystylephotochallenge where each month we have a daily photo prompt to come up with an appropriate image for.  Yesterday’s was ‘cross body bag’ theme has made me have another look at these accessories.  I went through a phase wearing them in my 20s.  I still remember the first tan leather cross-body bag I bought.  I wore it until it fell to pieces and the insides were marked with biro from when I was at Uni and I carried my pens for taking lecture notes.

But in recent years I’ve fallen in love with them again and there are a few reasons for this.

  1. When my son was a baby (and then toddler), you needed two hands free to keep him out of mischief!
  2. More recently I’ve had very stiff shoulders which I put down to carrying handbags on my shoulders stuffed with everything I needed (including the kitchen sink)!
  3. I seem to be carrying shopping a lot these days (groceries, clothes, kitchen sinks – I’m joking!) which means that I need hands free to concentrate on that and trying to have a conversation on my phone at the same time!

So, what better solution for carrying said phone, wallets, lipstick, Match Attax cards (no? Must just be me then!) than a cross-body bag.

I’m also writing this post about them as the last few bag purchases have actually been cross-body bags rather than conventional handbags/shoulder bags.

I’m going to start with cheap and cheerful because last week I was doing my food shopping in Sainsburys and had a wander around their Tu Clothing range and found this amazing Chloe Drew like bag. It’s not leather, but it was only £14 and it’s navy which means it will go with a lot of colour options. I can’t find it on their website, but it was in my local store, so if you’ve got a larger branch nearby it’s worth checking them out.

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Sainsburys Tu Cross Body bag, £14

I’ve been looking at other high end designer versions which I would love, but I will need to spend my pennies for, such as the following gems.

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I love the Chloe Marcie bag.  I have a much larger one which is gorgeous, but I would also love one of these cute cross-body versions.  However, I don’t currently have the £485 with which to purchase one, so this is on my wish list along with……

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The Gucci Soho Disco bag.  I’ve seen a lot of Instagram friends and bloggers have one of these and I can’t deny I’m envious but, again, at £650 a pop I might have to wait for a bit…..!

So, the more affordable leather options?  Well, there are a few on the high street which are good quality leather.  I particularly like these ones…

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Marks and Spencer Autograph Cross-Body Bag, £85
currently out of stock in this colourway, but keep checking

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Radley leather ‘Floral Street’ bag, £99

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Debenhams Collection Brown Leopard Cross Body bag, £25

Here are another couple I’ve bought in the last 6 months or so….

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Many will have seen my Zatchels cross-body saddle bag in Instagram posts.  I love it.  Leather and reasonably priced.  This one is currently only £36!

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The Furla Metropolis mini bag.  I recently bought mine (as above and below) on my way back from China at the airport, but you can still get this one for £210 in the UK.

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And plenty of proper ‘hand’ bags now come with a detachable strap which means that they can be carried in the hand, over the shoulder or across the body – depending on how the mood takes you and what the occasion calls for.

One of my other Furla bags has this option as you can see below.  It makes the bag so much more versatile and usable.

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And finally, probably my all-time favourite, much loved cross-body bags is the Richmond bag from Boden which I purchased a few years ago.  I have used it to death!  It’s getting quite worn out now unfortunately. My mother hates it, but I love a bit of leopard print.  Who doesn’t, right?

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How useful do you find cross-body bags?  Do you have any or do you stick to other styles?

Marguerite x

 

Fashion Rules Restyled – Royal fashion exhibition

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I had a second visit to Kensington Palace in London recently to have another look at the Fashion Rules Restyled exhibition.  The exhibition is a display of some of the wonderful outfits of Her Majesty the Queen, Princess Margaret (late sister of the Queen) and Princess Diana (late mother of Princes William and Harry).

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Whilst the exhibition provided a dazzling look at royal fashions from around the 1940s onwards, it also helped me to understand some of the protocols around what the royals wear.  Everything is worn for a reason – an evening dress on a royal overseas visit in the colour of the national flag of the country visited, references to shared history, UK designers.

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If any of the three royal ladies could be said to have more fashion freedom, it would have to be Princess Margaret.  After the Queen married and had children, Princess Margaret moved down the chain of succession and it was therefore less important for her to adhere to some of these protocols giving the fashionable princess some freedom to indulge in international designers including Dior, YSL and Hermes and experiment with less traditional outfits.

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Her Majesty, the Queen and Princess Diana had more formality within their wardrobes depending on the public function or event they were attending.  The Queen was a Hardy Amies devotee and Princess Diana was hailed as reviving the British fashion industry by championing the likes of Catherine Walker and Bruce Oldfield.

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The exhibition, which started in February 2016, will run indefinitely.  Check the Kensington Palace website for more information.

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